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How to Compost Nettles

Updated February 21, 2017

Nettles are a nuisance weed in the garden. They have fine stinging hairs along the stems that make them difficult to remove without gloves. Nettles are an excellent addition to compost because they are a compost activator, which means they speed up the decomposition process in your compost pile. Chopping the nettles decreases the surface area and make decomposition even faster. You can easily add nettles to your compost pile, as long as you maintain the proper ingredient ratio.

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  1. Cut off the nettle roots with sharp gardening shears. If you leave the roots on, they will grow in your compost heap.

  2. Cut the nettles into 6-inch pieces so they decompose easier. You can also lay them out on the lawn and run a mower over them to chop them into pieces.

  3. Add the nettles to your compost heap. The compost pile should be 30 parts brown material to 1 part green material, so only add enough nettles to maintain that ratio. Brown materials include leaves, pine needles, and sawdust. Greens materials include grass clippings, garden scraps, and kitchen scraps.

  4. Turn the pile once a week to speed up decomposition. Nettles are a natural compost activator, so the pile may decompose faster than you expect it to.

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Things You'll Need

  • Compost browns
  • Pitchfork

About the Author

Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on GreenDaily.com and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.

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